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POLICE & COURTS

Man pleads guilty to charges in $5 million investor scam

An Orchard Park man pleaded guilty to wire fraud Friday as part of a scam that may have cost investors more than $5 million.

James E. Rotterman, 33, was accused of using two companies he had formed, JRCG Holdings and Warlord Media, to advertise businesses he claimed were for sale. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gretchen L. Wylegala said the businesses didn't exist but that Rotterman was able to attract hundreds of investors by using false financial documents, bank statements and tax returns.

The FBI and IRS investigated.

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Member of gang pleads guilty to drug trafficking

A Buffalo man identified as a gang member pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to distributing crack cocaine.

Pinky Stover, 33, could face 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara on Aug. 27. Stover sold crack cocaine to an FBI informant in July 2008 on William Street near Sherman Street, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. McCabe.

Stover was identified as a member of the "31-Gang," which trafficked drugs on Buffalo's East Side, authorities said. Stover and 33 others were arrested in February 2009. To date, 32 of the defendants have been convicted, authorities said.

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W. Seneca woman indicted in international stock scam

An international investigation has resulted in a 40-count federal indictment charging a West Seneca woman with fraud.

The indictment, announced Friday by U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr., charges Monica Romaszko, 59, and 11 others with participating in a large-scale, international "stock boiler-room" scheme.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gretchen Wylegala said the investment fraud was based in Barcelona, Spain, and involved a telemarketing operation that used phones and the Internet to cold call investors.

Romaszko, the only local defendant, is accused of opening two bank accounts, one in the Buffalo area, one in Fort Erie, Ont., that were used to deposit investor funds. Wylegala said the money was later transferred to various accounts across the world.

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Deportee pleads guilty to bid to re-enter U.S.

A native of Nigeria pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to attempting to re-enter the United States after being previously deported.

Daniel Nkenchor Iduwe, 50, was accused of trying to enter the country from Canada in November 2011 using a Canadian passport he had obtained in the name of Daniel Osahon. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gretchen L. Wylegala said it was later revealed that Iduwe had been deported in 2002 following felony convictions in the mid 1980s.

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Weapons charges lodged after disruption at park

Joshua M. Gorciak, 21, faces weapons and other charges for having a switchblade and drinking beer and brandy with two underage girls in a city park shelter in the 8000 block of South Division Street Thursday night.

Gorciak, no address listed, was charged with fourth-degree weapons possession, endangering the welfare of a child for drinking with minors, drinking in public places and disorderly conduct -- the latter charge, for allegedly "screaming obscenities" at two police officers with children playing at a nearby playground.

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Man fatally hit by car identified by authorities

TOWN OF LOCKPORT -- A pedestrian killed Thursday night when he was struck by a car has been identified as Dale S. Billips, 55, of Robinson Road, Town of Lockport.

A Nissan Versa with four occupants was traveling north on Transit just north of Robinson Road at about 11:30 p.m. when it struck Billips, who was walking east across South Transit.

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Woman gets probation in retiree benefits case

A woman who admitted receiving fraudulent retirement benefits on behalf of her dead father-in-law was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to three years' probation Friday.

Karen Peterson, 68, of Alden, was convicted of theft of government money and filing a false tax return.

Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryEllen Kresse said Peterson collected about $570,000 in Civil Service Retirement System benefits improperly paid to her deceased father-in-law and then failed to report the money on her federal tax return.

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West Seneca police find theft suspect in hiding

A Buffalo man charged with third- degree burglary and third-degree grand larceny is accused of stealing copper, a car and credit card, West Seneca police said Friday.

Patrick Walden, 23, of Manitoba Street, remains in the Erie County Holding Center in lieu of $15,000 bail. West Seneca police said Officer Scott Daley found Walden hiding in brush near the gates of Ebenezer Railcar Services on Indian Church Road about 5 a.m. Wednesday. Also discovered was copper wire worth $3,000 and two wheelbarrows containing hand tools and batteries, police said.